Definition of cynic
1 capitalized : an adherent of an ancient Greek school of philosophers who held the view that virtue is the only good and that its essence lies in self-control and independence
2 : a faultfinding captious critic; especially : one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest Of course, there will always be cynics when companies make good-faith apologies and seek to follow through. — Andrew Ross Sorkin
Examples of cynic in a Sentence
He's too much of a cynic to see the benefits of marriage.
A cynic might think that the governor visited the hospital just to gain votes.
Reporters who cover politics often become cynics.
Recent Examples of cynic from the Web
The main character Randall is a ruminating cynic with no original thoughts but plenty to say.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cynic'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The ancient Greece school of philosophers known as Cynics was founded by Antisthenes, a contemporary of Plato. Antisthenes is said to have taught at a gymnasium outside Athens called the Kynosarges, from which the name of the school, kynikoi, literally, “doglike ones,” may be derived. On the other hand, the name is most closely associated with the most famous Cynic philosopher, Diogenes of Sinope. Diogenes rejected social conventions and declared that whatever was natural and easy could not be indecent and therefore can and should be done in public. This shamelessness earned him the Greek epithet ho kyōn, “the dog.” In English, however, cynic and cynical have more to do with distrust of motives than shamelessness.
Origin and Etymology of cynic
Middle French or Latin, Middle French cynique, from Latin cynicus, from Greek kynikos, literally, like a dog, from kyn-, kyōn dog — more at hound
First Known Use: 1542
CYNIC Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cynic for English Language Learners
: a person who has negative opinions about other people and about the things people do; especially : a person who believes that people are selfish and are only interested in helping themselves
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